Manchester - England great James Anderson insisted he wanted
to win the Ashes again after an end at his Old Trafford home ground was renamed
in his honour.
The Pavilion End at Lancashire's Manchester headquarters
will now be known officially as The James Anderson End in recognition of
England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker's "immense contribution"
to both club and country in the 15 years since his first-class debut.
The swing specialist could bowl from The James Anderson End
as soon as Friday, when the fourth Test between England and South Africa is
scheduled to start at Old Trafford.
While Sachin Tendulkar won a 2011 World Cup final with India
on a Wankhede ground in Mumbai where a stand was named after him, this is a
rare recognition for a still active cricketer in the English game.
Indeed Old Trafford's Brian Statham End was only so named
several years after the Lancashire and England pace bowling great, a star of
the 1950s and 1960s, had died.
For Anderson, born in the Lancashire town of Burnley and
someone who has spent his entire career with the county, it was a shock late
35th birthday present.
"I'm blown away, really, by the gesture from the
club," he told reporters at Old Trafford on Thursday.
"I can't quite believe it has happened. It is something
that usually happens when people have stopped playing or are further down the
line. So to have this happen when I'm still playing and potentially bowling
from that end in the game, is a bit surreal."
But he insisted this honour should not be taken as a sign
his career was winding down.
"I don't like looking back on my career too much
because I am still playing and I still have things I want to achieve,
personally and with this team," he said.
And for Anderson, who took 24 wickets during England's
2010/11 Test series victory in Australia, one of those targets is another Ashes
triumph 'Down Under' when the side travel to their arch-rivals later this year.
"I'd like to win the Ashes again," he said.
"I think this team can achieve great things in the next couple of years
and I'd like to be around to be a part of it and help the team improve.
"For me, that's what keeps me going and keeps me hungry
to keep playing the game."
He added: "I've felt really good in this series.
Barring me slipping in the shower or a back spasm overnight, I'll have played
all four games.
"I've had a couple of injuries over the last 12-18
months so staying fit is a priority."
Meanwhile novice England captain Joe Root said of Anderson:
"He is as good as ever.
"To have someone like that to go to when you are under
the pump, when you want someone to change the game, is invaluable,"
explained Root, who added it was "great to hear" the overnight
announcement that a contract row between Cricket Australia and their players,
which threatened the Ashes, had been resolved.
Anderson's 480 wickets put him sixth in the list of Test
cricket's leading wicket-takers, with all the bowlers above him retired.
Yet for all his success elsewhere, Anderson has still to
take five wickets in a Test innings at Old Trafford.
"It's not always been a great ground for me with
England but it would be nice if I can get on that (honours) board," said
Anderson, who has 22 five-wicket hauls in 125 Tests to his credit.
"But we have a series to win and we're in a great
place," added Anderson, with England 2-1 up with one to play against South
Meanwhile Anderson, asked if 'his' end - which used to be
square on before the pitch was turned through 90 degrees several years ago -
was his favourite at Old Trafford, replied: "It is now."